By Fatou Saho
As the deaths of young Gambians in the Mediterranean sea increased, leaving the country in a state of grievance, the Gambia Immigration Department yesterday announced new measures ‘operation zero departure’ to end illegal migration along the coastlines of the country.
The operation is launched to intensify actions against irregular migration and will be enforced with the help of intelligence officers and the Gambia Navy who will work with staff from the Immigration Department.
The deputy public relations officer of the GID, Inspector Bah, said they have intercepted 27 Europe-bound boats this year alone. He explained that the boats that escaped and went on to the journey reportedly ended in tragic situations that resulted in loss of lives which is why it is necessary to strengthen this kind of operation.
The commissioner of operations, Babucarr Janneh said Immigration is fully committed to see that the illegal departures to Europe end.
“We are ready for this operation and we have the manpower that will run on the clock; mornings, afternoons and at nights to look for any clandestine boats planning to take people on this kind of journey,” he stated.
The GID appealed to the public to cooperate with them and assist in ways they can by giving them information.
Commissioner Kujabi, the commissioner of Immigration in KM, lamented a lack of legislation as the biggest challenge in addressing irregular migration as their targets are set on the smugglers themselves.
“We do not have a legal framework addressing the smuggling of migrants. When you apprehend smugglers and take them to court, it becomes difficult to give them a convincing sentence”, he lamented.
Commissioner Kujabi said a bill has been prepared since 2019 but is yet to be still passed into law. He therefore urged parliamentarians to pass the bill which will help them do their job to ensure that there is no illegal departures to Europe.